Which is the best Kilimanjaro route?

by admin

All of the seven different Kilimanjaro routes lead to the summit! They all then use one of two possible descent routes back to the bottom of the mountain.

Group of hikers in forest of Kilimanjaro

A great group snap by our client Jillian

Having said that, trying to figure out which route to take should not be an afterthought, but rather a core component of your Kilimanjaro preparation.

Choosing the right route can, in fact, make or break your climb. This is because each route has its own pros and cons. It’s important that you weigh these carefully before making your decision.

Lemosho-Route-8-day-Map Kilimanjaro

The eight-day Lemosho route is one of our favourite Kilimanjaro routes

Here’s a quick introduction to the seven routes, which may help you to whittle down your options so that you only need to research some of them in more detail:

Route Distance Duration Notes

Lemosho

70 km / 44 mi

7 or 8 days

Beautiful and varied terrain. Good acclimatisation. Busy route.

Machame

62 km / 39 mi

6 or 7 days

Beautiful and varied terrain. Busiest route.

Marangu

72 km / 45 mi

5 or 6 days

Hut accommodation. Scenery not so varied. Not very steep.

Rongai

73 km / 45 mi

6 or 7 days

Quiet route. Takes a long time to reach the trailhead. You look north to Kenya.

Shira

56 km / 35 mi

6 or 7 days

Very high start. Poor acclimatisation. You miss the pretty forest zone.

Northern Circuit

98 km / 61 mi

9 or 10 days

Very pretty and varied route. Quiet route. Highest summit success rate.

Umbwe

53 km / 33 mi

6 or 7 days

Very steep and tough. Pretty scenery. Poor acclimatisation. Low summit success rate.

Mount Kilimanjaro. On the way from Machame Camp to Shira Camp

Gorgeous landscape on the Machame route

Guiding questions

At the end of the day, choosing a route is a personal choice, so really there is no ‘best’ route overall. Rather, you could say there’s a best route for you and what you want to achieve.

There are five essential questions to answer to help you choose your Kilimanjaro route:

  1. How diverse is the route’s vegetation, terrain and scenery?
  2. How many days are spent on the mountain?
  3. What is the acclimatisation profile and success rate of the route?
  4. How much does the climb cost?
  5. How crowded does the route get?
Groundsel Trees on Kilimanjaro

Did we mention the scenery on Kilimanjaro?? 😉

Follow Amazing Kilimanjaro’s opinion

All that said, in our opinion the best Kilimanjaro routes are:

  • 8-day Lemosho route – it’s very beautiful and has a high summit success rate
  • 9-day Northern Circuit – it’s a beautiful and quiet route with an excellent summit success rate
  • 7-day Machame route – it’s a beautiful and popular route

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